Best Ecommerce Business Ideas to Try in 2021

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December 24, 2020
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Top-5 Ecommerce Businesses to Start in 2021
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Ecommerce businesses are having their moment. The global pandemic of 2020 has turned the world upside down and left its trace in ecommerce. 

Ecommerce sales reached $374.375 million in 2020 in the US mostly because small businesses struggle in their brick-and-mortar stores and see online shops as a lucrative opportunity to continue working. But think about this: only 10% of all purchases were done online and generated this amount of sales. What will be the online sales by 2040 when 95% of all purchases shall account for ecommerce? Unimaginable.

Ecommerce trend seems to persist across all industries, and now is your time to step in the game.

According to eMarketer, food and beverage industry is a leader in ecommerce, followed by health & beauty, toys & hobby, and consumer electronics sectors. A little spoiler here: with all things healthy on the rise, most niches are soaked with eco-friendliness and sustainability messages. 

US retail ecommerce sales growth by product category
Source: eMarketer.

We have prepared a list of top-5 ecommerce business niches for you to see the general market trends in each sector and analyze what you can get a top-dollar for. Without further ado, let’s dive into some best ecommerce businesses to start!

Food & Beverage

Food and beverage ecommerce has become a hot trend in 2020. The number of US digital grocery buyers has surged 41.9% this year to 131.0 million. Even though this spike has been brought about by the global lockdown, and the stores seem to be reopening soon, the trend is expected to stay in place for years to come.

Apart from meal delivery that presents tough competition in the industry, you can take advantage of sustainable eating habits among the US population. Online searches for keto snacks, vegan– and plant-based products, and organic food have grown in the past year. Gluten-free products market size is also growing and is expected to reach $43.65 billion by 2027.

If you’re thrilled by these business opportunities in the food and beverage ecommerce industry, read our article on how to sell food online.
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How to Sell Food Online Explained (by Ecommerce Experts)

Another ecommerce business idea is selling alcohol online as bars and nightclubs will remain closed for a while. According to Drizly Consumer Survey Report 2020, 30% of legal-age alcohol consumers have said they will continue to drink more at home through the end of 2020 and beyond. Given that alcohol ecommerce still has a small market share, you might take this opportunity.

We also have a guide to creating a winery on the web just for you – read more on how to sell wine online in a related article.
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How to Sell Wine Online: A Guide to Creating a Winery on the Web

Health & Wellness

Health, personal care, and beauty sector comes second in the top ecommerce trends for the following years. Sustainability is the key: the natural and organic beauty market grows 10% year-on-year globally. In 2019, it was worth $36.3 billion dollars and is expected to reach $54.5 billion by 2027.

Source: Statista.

Customers are paying eagle-eyed attention to the ingredients listed on the back of the packaging and choosing cosmetic products with natural antioxidants. The US cosmetics brand retailer Kiehl’s capitalized on this trend and removed parabens from their Ultra Facial Cream. The result was astonishing: they experienced a sales bump of $5 million in 2020!

Source: Future Market Insights.

Diversity and inclusivity go hand in hand with sustainability in the beauty ecommerce sector. The increasing number of brands are adjusting their products for different skin colors. For instance, Too Faced saw a huge annual turnover of $350 million in 2019 thanks to its innovative makeup products “Born This Way”, while Illamasqua raised $50 million of profits after the “Express Your Individuality” campaign.

Example of a health & wellness online store - Too Faced
Source: Too Faced.

With many brands offering mainly products “for her”, male grooming products may also become one of the best ecommerce businesses in the near future. For now, shave care accounts for 30% of total sales in men’s skincare product market, but manufacturers are also tapping into such categories as sunscreen, moisturizers, and facial scrubs.

To seize the beauty and wellness ecommerce opportunities, you’ll have to build operational processes, resources, marketing, and – above all – a website. Learn more in our related article:
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How To Start An Online Beauty Supply Store: Step-by-step Guide

Arts & Entertainment

As people are confined at homes, arts and crafts have become their salvation. Recognizing that toys and hobbies are not only popular pastimes but also aid in stress reduction, ecommerce businesses target various lucrative niches of the entertainment sector:

  • The toys and games niche saw a 79% increase in order count and a 128% increase in page views in June 2020.
  • Books/music/videos are the most penetrated category for ecommerce in 2020 as 62.7% of sales are done online.
  • The global market value of cards and board games is estimated to be around $14.21 billion in 2020 and is forecast to reach $21.56 billion by 2025.
  • Amazon has registered a 25% increase in sales of musical instruments and related products.
An increase in ecommerce sales in the Arts and Crafts category by November 2020

Ecommerce sales in the Arts and Crafts category increased by an average of 53.98% in November 2020 compared to November 2019. Source: Intelligent Commerce.

Needless to say that Google queries for watercolor, drawing paper, and paintbrushes also saw an increase in interest from users. NMPI Digital Report specifies that the Michaels Companies – the US largest supplier of arts and crafts materials – increased their revenues by $8 million in 2020 as compared to last year.

As people seem to be picking up new hobbies, you can offer them one. Opening an online bookstore may be the best ecommerce business idea of an upcoming year – read more in our blog.:
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How to Sell Books Online: 3 Things to Do Before Opening an E-Bookstore

Technology 

Global pandemic changed people’s lifestyle and work culture, and the good news is (at least for you as a future entrepreneur): this trend is here to stay. According to Netscope, 58% of Americans operating in the knowledge economy have been working from home this year, and Garter reports that around 74% of companies intend to keep their workforce remote even after the pandemic is over.

Thanks to the shift in work culture, the technology ecommerce is quite promising. As a small business, you can offer much more than just computers – from work-from-home supplies to wearable tech products. Wireless charging stations are gaining momentum, with the industry experts estimating the market to witness a $22 billion surge by 2022. The same trend goes for wireless earphones: as more and more phones are removing headphone jacks from the devices, TWS technology becomes a necessity for many consumers.

Fitness technology is a prospective ecommerce niche too. From fitness trackers to smart bags, e-retailers are offering the customers everything to keep them physically active. Fitness clothing brand Lululemon has even introduced a large LCD mirror that people can use for training, which is heading for a billion-dollar valuation

Apparently, with an online tech store, you can both resell the electronic items following the trends and use your imagination to upgrade them.

Lululemon fitness mirror
Lululemon fitness mirror. Source: Forbes.

Fashion & Clothing

A global lockdown and store shutdowns have made the fashion and apparel industry go online. According to Common Thread Collective 2020 report, retail ecommerce sales of apparel reached $135.49 billion this year and will continue to grow. Ecommerce fashion penetration shall increase from 46.6% this year to 60.32% by 2024, particularly in the following fashion segments:

  • Apparel: +12.7%
  • Footwear: +11.6%
  • Bags & Accessories: +8.5%
US ecommerce sales in the Apparel & Accessories market
Source: Common Thread.

Mind that fashion and clothing niche is very susceptible to general economic welfare. As 2020 has deepened the economic gap in the population, apparel brands have to choose whether to target dollar-shoppers or fly high and offer luxury items. But don’t get disappointed, you still have a choice! Even in the jewelry business, you may sell custom-made bracelets that sell just as good as high-end gold necklaces. 

Just choose your niche wisely and market your products properly. Read more on how to start a jewelry business online in our related article.
Guides & Advice
How to Start a Jewelry Business Online: 6 Steps to Your Ecommerce Success

Going online is an excellent idea for those who already own a clothing store offline. Soon after launching their website, a luxury bridal house Amsale was flooded with over 130 fitting appointments, and a lifestyle Finnish brand Marimekko synchronized their inventory management system with their US-based online store, thus, extended their customer database and improving user experience. 

If entering the fashion & clothing niche seems like a good ecommerce business idea for you, go through our related guide on.
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How To Start An Online Clothing Store: The Complete Guide For Boutique Owners

Wrap-Up

Starting an ecommerce business may be an excellent 2021 New Year’s resolution. Choosing a niche is usually the first step to launching any online store, and 2020 market insights will let you choose one – from food to fashion, entertainment to beauty, arts to tech. The aforementioned top-5 list of best ecommerce businesses has given you the general outlook on the lucrative ecommerce opportunities and redirected you to a number “how-to” articles in our blog so that you can take an informed decision about your next big project.

Already have an idea and looking for someone to make it a reality?

At Elogic, we have ample expertise in creating online stores for businesses in any ecommerce niche. We work primarily with Magento and have 60+ certified professionals implementing the dreams of ecommerce businesses all over the globe. Find more ecommerce business ideas among our projects and let us know of your next business venture for 2021!

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